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Sandy Hook conspiracy theories spread in wake of Newtown tragedy
Skeptics have claimed in recent years that 9/11 was an inside job and that President Barack Obama was not born in America. Now a similar conspiracy theory is quickly gaining steam -- that Dec. 14’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax perpetrated by gun control advocates.
A 30-minute Youtube video called “The Sandy Hook Shooting -- Fully Exposed,” which was flagged by Youtube for potentially offensive content, has gone viral with more than 8 million views. The video shows clips of media coverage surrounding the the Newtown shooting and then calls into question the legitimacy of certain aspects. One clip shows the father of one of the children killed giving a press conference with the caption, "The dad is laughing and joking before getting on camera, then starts hyperventilating to appear sad. This is what actors do when getting into character."
Both professors and television journalists have questioned the details of the tragedy, which hit close to home in the Hudson Valley. Katonah native Anne Marie Murphy, who taught special education at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was killed as she tried to defend a child from rapidly firing bullets. Two slain students also had local ties -- Daniel Barden’s mother is a Pawling Elementary School teacher, and Grace McDonnell’s great-uncle is a former White Plains fire chief.
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Conspiracy theorists have pointed to inconsistencies in the initial coverage of the shooting, which claimed 27 lives. In the first hours, for instance, there were reports of multiple shooters, but it later was revealed that the sole shooter was Adam Lanza, 20. Breaking news reporting, however, often gets certain facts wrong as journalists scramble to figure out what happened, especially when incidents are as traumatic and rife with confusion as the Newtown massacre.
Most of the conspiracy theorists appear to be pro-gun enthusiasts, whose New York contingent has been livid after the Legislature passed a host of new gun regulations yesterday. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to act as well.
Twitter has exploded with opinions both for and against the theories. Piers Morgan, the CNN host who has made gun control his pet issue of late, was sure to chime in: